io9 Newsstand: Best stories for the Week of January 25 - 31

This week's stories are about identity and rage, fire and ice... and the threat and consequences of death.

To Fall, and Pause, and Fall by Lisa Nohealani Morton | Fireside Magazine

On each screen, a woman comes out from behind the camera and around the table to sit down. It's the same woman on every screen. She's blonde, wearing a plain, blue hospital gown that's too long for her; it trails on the floor. Her hair is shoulder length and unkempt. She moves with the careful, fumbling deliberation of a recent restore; it's obvious her spinal memory hasn't integrated yet.


On screen 7, she trips on the gown and knocks over the chair, cursing loudly and windmilling her skinny arms for balance.

She pulls the chair out from the table (#7 picks it up off the floor instead) and sits down. There's a rustling as she flips through the papers in her hands. Then she looks into the camera and starts to talk.

I'm a sucker for portrayals of futuristic performance art, so this one grabbed me right away. I'm not sure that the story succeeds in really getting to the emotional heart of the questions being asked, but I do like all the various reactions of the Carolines and the many open-ended questions the author spins out in this short.

[reprint] Maiden, Mother, Crone by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky | Lightspeed Magazine


The snow came faster and harder, whipping little pains of ice. Wind hissed and howled. This wasn't just winter's cold, she realized with increasing dread. It was a storm, a powerful one.

Her stomach cramped with fear. She twisted to look behind, but she couldn't tell how far they'd come through the cold and the dark. She thought about turning back to the stables and sheltering there, but she couldn't. Gavek and Iresna would find her. They'd want to know why she'd fled. Afterward, they'd watch her. She'd never find another occasion to slip away — not before the baby was born.


Her stomach cramped again. Cold and fear and pain — she moaned. The sound came back to her on the driving wind. As she heard it, she realized that just as this wind was not an ordinary winter wind, her pain was not an ordinary winter pain.

She cursed. It was too early.

The dilemma here will be familiar to many fantasy readers, as will the setting. What drew me in and pulled me through is the writing itself. Both Swirsky and Leckie both know how to write compelling prose, and their sensibilities blend really well here. It's no wonder they chose to collaborate. I also love the idea behind the way the women's power works in this world.


Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 3
The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History by Sam J. Miller as read by C.S.E. Cooney


The world changed in two huge ways that night.

In the first place, the world changed because the gays fought back. The police and the press were equally dumbfounded by the idea that a bar full of fairies would refuse to submit to one of the raids that were standard—if monstrously unjust—operating procedure. The Stonewall itself had been raided less than a week before. The night of June 28, 1969, should have been no different.


Secondly, the Stonewall Uprising was the first public demonstration of the supernatural phenomenon that would later be called by names as diverse as collective pyrokinesis, group magic, communal energy, polykinesis, multipsionics, liberation flame, and hellfire.


Since testimonials are all that's left to those of us frustrated with the Official Version, the oral history format seems to be our best bet. I know that many of the most outspoken voices of the Stonewall Uprising have reacted with anger and hostility at the news that I, of all journalists, was planning to compile such a history, and are urging their comrades not to speak with me. I understand their objections, and have precious little to show by way of proof that I've changed. I simply cannot not tell this story.


This story's structure—interweaving oral histories—makes it especially suitable for the podcast format, and Cooney takes advantage of that. I'm also a fan of Uncanny including interviews in their podcasts for those of us who like to hear the authors behind the stories talk about their lives and influences and such.

K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction author and media critic. Follow her on Twitter, G+, Tumblr, or her blog.


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